In hiring radiologists, employers prefer subspecialists willing to read multiple areas

When presented with five types of prospective employees, a majority of potential employers would prefer to hire single-specialty radiologists with general capabilities, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

According to the authors of the study—including Edward I. Bluth, MD, of the Ochsner Clinic Foundation’s department of radiology—there has been an ongoing debate about how radiology residents should train so that they can secure a job.

“Some think that general radiologists are the most sought after, whereas others believe that single-specialty radiologists with great expertise in particular areas are most needed,” the authors wrote. “Others have recommended multispecialty radiologists. As a result of this debate regarding skills and needs, residents in training are uncertain of the best career paths for them.”

In an attempt to bring clarity to current and future residents, Bluth and colleagues surveyed leaders from 555 radiology groups about their hiring preferences. The survey was a collaboration with the ACR Commission on Human Resources and Commission on General, Small and Rural Practice.

Each leader who responded was presented with five options—single-specialty radiologists, single-specialty radiologists with general capabilities, multispecialty radiologists, general radiologists, and radiologists who did two fellowships in the same specialty—and asked to rank them on a scale of 4 (most desirable) to 1 (least desirable).

The results showed that 68 percent of respondents view single-specialty radiologists with general capabilities as the “most desirable” candidates, and another 21 percent view them as “very desirable.”

In addition, 51 percent of respondents ranked single-specialty radiologists who only read in one clinical area and lack general capabilities as the “least desirable” candidates. Academic universities were the exception to this trend, with 44 percent saying the single-specialty radiologists with no general capabilities are the most desirable.

The data also provided promising news for radiologists with no additional training outside of their residency who will read in all areas.

“At the present time, some leaders are still interested in hiring residents immediately after residency,” the authors wrote. “Seventeen percent of private practices and 13 percent of hospital practices that employ radiologists identified general radiologists as the most desirable hires.”

Meanwhile, a total of 73 percent respondents from academic universities ranked general radiologists as the least desirable candidates.

Those interested in more specifics about the radiology job market can read the full study here.